When Mamma Mia! hit cinemas it became an instant classic. Not only did it receive rave reviews from both the public and critics, it became one of the highest-grossing films of the year by reaching a staggering $611 million at the box office. The iconic 2008 movie was based on the musical of the same name, which was in turn based on music from the Swedish band ABBA.
The movie follows Amanda Seyfried as Sophie Sheridan, who was looking to find out which of her mother’s ex-lovers was her real father. The men were played by former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan, as well as Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard.
A musical is a bit of a departure for Bond star Brosnan, but he shamelessly confessed he signed up within seconds of finding out the cast.
When hearing the production was based in Greece and he would have to do some singing, he was understandably a little cautious about accepting the offer.
But then he learned he would be acting opposite the legendary Meryl Streep.
Streep is, of course, the incredibly prolific American actress who has won three Oscars for her acting over the years. She received Best Actress awards for Sophie’s Choice and The Iron Lady. She also received Best Supporting Actress in Kramer vs. Kramer.
Brosnan was thrilled by the news. He later recalled signing up after learning he would be acting with Streep, who he described as “that gorgeous blonde I fancied terribly in drama school!”
Brosnan then got some further details about the movie, before jumping at the chance. He laughed: “The agent said: ‘Meryl Streep, Mamma Mia!, Greece’, and I quickly said: ‘I’m in!’ I didn’t even ask ‘how much?’ just ‘I’m in!'”
Although he was excited at first, Brosnan later explained how worried he was about joining the musical endeavour. The British star is, of course, best known for playing 007, but has also dabbled in a number of dramatic movies.
So his entrance into the world of musicals was difficult for him.
Brosnan confessed: “I was terrified, terrified. It was the last thing I’d ever imagined to be offered a job like this.”
Once the film’s production had come to an end, Brosnan reflected fondly on his experience. And, of course, he praised working with Streep above all. He said: “I had the time of my life doing it. Really, I cannot wax lyrically enough about my experience with Meryl Streep, Colin Firth and Julie Walters. And Phyllida Lloyd, the director, of course. And Judy Craymer and the world of Mamma Mia! Julie and Phyllida and Catherine Johnson, the writer, did create something that is enduring and meaningful and above all; entertaining.”
Streep was well-loved by a number of people involved in Mamma Mia! – including ABBA themselves.
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All of the actors in the movie recorded their own songs for the final cut of the film. This meant that everyone had to bring their A-game, as their songs were recorded in Sweden in the presence of ABBA.
When Streep arrived in Stockholm she laid down her vocals for her iconic belter of a song The Winner Takes It All. And Benny Andersson, one-quarter of ABBA, said Streep recorded the song in one take. He called her a “miracle”.
Not everyone could have the same vocal prowess as the legend that is Meryl Streep, however.
Brosnan was not a dreadful singer in the Mamma Mia! movies, but he was certainly not as well-loved by the fans as others. Looking back on his vocal performances, the 68-year-old said: “Singing is not necessarily my forte – I enjoy singing, I’m not quite sure other people enjoy my singing, but they have good entertainment value out of my singing.”
Mamma Mia! is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video now.